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16 Major Battles of The American Revolution

written by: Robin L. • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 1/20/2012

Review the dates of some of the most important battles of the American Revolution, from the first "shot heard 'round the world" to the final battle and victory of the Americans.

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    Battles of Lexington and Concord

    April 19, 1775 – Battles of Lexington and Concord began the American Revolution, which was famously described as “the shot heard ‘round the world".

    Battle of Bunker Hill

    June 17, 1775 – Battle of Bunker Hill, which was actually fought on Breed’s Hill, was won by the British leaving the peninsula of Charlestown controlled by the British. However, it was encouraging to the Americans because the British casualties were near one thousand while the Patriot casualties were less than four hundred. Of the Patriot casualties, most occurred during retreat.

    Siege of Boston

    March 2, 1776– The Siege of Boston led to the withdrawal of British troops, which had occupied Boston for eight years. The British troops fled to Nova Scotia.

    Lake Champlain

    October 11, 1776 – Benedict Arnold’s army is defeated at Lake Champlain this would later cast further suspicion on him as a traitor.

    Battle of Trenton

    December 26, 1776 – Washington’s troops cross the Delaware River and capture Trenton. This was a minor technical victory but a major victory for morale. Military enlistments were set to expire on the 31st and without this morale boost he would likely have lost many of his troops. This battle helped prove to the American people that the army was capable of winning the war.

    Battle of Princeton

    January 3, 1777 – Washington is victorious at the Battle of Princeton further encouraging American troops. The British retreated giving control of New Jersey to the Americans.

    Battle of Bennington

    August 16, 1777 – The Battle of Bennington was won by the Colonial militiamen. It drastically reduced the size of Burgoyne’s army and caused the Native American he previously enjoyed to falter. It also garnered more support for the war amongst the colonists and was instrumental in the later support of France.

    Battle of Brandywine

    September 11, 1777 – At the Battle of Brandywine Washington’s eleven thousand troops faced eighteen thousand British troops. He was forced to abandon the Brandywine Creek outpost and retreat. This began the British occupation of Pennsylvania.

    Battle of Germantown

    October 4, 1777 – The Battle of Germantown is a great example of General Washington’s strategic ability. Although his offensive was not successful, it did help the colonies gain the support of France. The military support of France helped turn the tide of the American Revolution.

    Battle of Saratoga

    October 17, 1777 – The Battle of Saratoga was a resounding success for the Americans. The British troops, led by John Burgoyne, negotiated a surrender that included promising that neither he nor his men would ever serve in North America. Shortly after the outcome of the battle, King Louis the XVI recognized the independence of the United States and began supplying aide to the Patriots.

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    Battle of Monmouth

    June 28, 1778 - The Battle of Monmouth was a technical victory for the British, however, it was strategically a win for the Patriots because it left them with control of the field. It also proved that the Continental Army was able to hold its own against trained British soldiers. It was also the last big battle held in the northern theater and the battle most closely associated with the story of Molly Pitcher.

    Battle of King’s Mountain

    October 7, 1780 – The Battle of King’s Mountain was between British regulars and Colonial frontiersmen. When the British were surrounded on the mountain the frontiersmen rushed repeatedly and cut down the force with incredibly accurate fire. Major Patrick Ferguson refused to surrender to colonists and instead rushed down the mountain where he and his men were killed. Even the British that attempted to surrender were killed by the frontiersmen who were still outraged over British behavior in the Carolinas.

    Battle of Cowpens

    January 17, 1781 – The Battle of Cowpens was an American victory that proved that American soldiers were capable of defeating a British force of similar strength without any advantages such as geography or surprise.

    Battle of Guilford Court House

    March 15, 1781 – The Battle of Guilford Court House was a great win for the Americans. Prior to the defeat, the British had established a firm hold of Georgia and South Carolina and felt that North Carolina would soon follow. Instead the British commander, General Cornwallis, invaded Virginia and colonial General Greene was able to begin reclaiming the southern colonies.

    Battle of Eutaw Springs

    September 7, 1781 – The Battle of Eutaw Springs was the last major battle held in the southern theatre. While it was only a partial victory for the colonists, it did help them maintain there almost complete control of the southern colonies.

    Battle of Yorktown

    September 28, 1781 – The Battle of Yorktown was the end of the fighting in the American colonies, although additional fighting did take place on the sea and in other areas. General Washington’s victory over General Cornwallis led to the peace negotiations that would eventually end the war.

     

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